Kim Foxx calls Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s criticisms of fatal West Side shooting case ‘inappropriate’ and ‘wrong’


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“We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to ensure that the necessary work is done so that we may bring charges and ultimately secure a conviction for those that engage in the violence that we have seen across this city,” Foxx said at a news conference. “That is our mission. It is not to try cases in the media nor to play politics on the deaths of children, and veterans, and people in our community.”

Foxx’s pointed comments marked the second day of dueling news conferences between City Hall and the county’s top prosecutor, which started Monday after Lightfoot said she was concerned by a decision by Foxx’s office not to bring charges related to a Friday morning exchange of gunfire where four people exited two vehicles and shot into a home on North Mason Avenue, and people inside fired at them, according to authorities.

One person was killed and the shooters outside the home fled during the incident, which was also witnessed by police officers and caught on a city street camera. But prosecutors declined to press murder charges, saying there wasn’t enough clear evidence to support a case due to grainy video and uncooperative witnesses.

Lightfoot ripped Foxx’s office on Monday over the decision, saying there was enough evidence to bring a case and that the decision not to charge the men involved would lead to “chaos.”

In response, Foxx called a rare news conference to rebut Lightfoot. At one point, Foxx said Lightfoot’s comments were a stunt akin to former Mayor Jane Byrne’s 1981 decision to move into the Cabrini-Green housing project.

“I was quite honestly mortified by what happened yesterday, particularly because the mayor, as a former prosecutor, knows that what she did yesterday was inappropriate,” Foxx said.

Kim Foxx calls Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s criticisms of fatal West Side shooting case ‘inappropriate’ and ‘wrong’
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx held a rare news conference Tuesday to address criticism from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “I was quite honestly mortified by what happened yesterday, particularly because the mayor as a former prosecutor knows that what she did yesterday was inappropriate,” Foxx said. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Lightfoot’s comments stating there is enough evidence to file charges against suspects in the shooting case where gunmen fired into a home Friday morning “simply weren’t true,” Foxx said. She said the job of the state’s attorney office is to get a conviction, which means the evidence in any case has to be “held in the highest integrity.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois in a statement Tuesday said Lightfoot and police Superintendent David Brown, who has been critical of Foxx’s office in the past and also believes charges should be filed in the shooting case, “need to end the finger-pointing and blame game and get serious about addressing the spike in gun violence.”

In her news conference, Foxx pointed to rising violence not just in Cook County but around the country and added the state’s attorney office is being called “to operate in truly trying times,” which means cases need to be handled thoroughly and kept out of the media.

Foxx said the only way to move forward from increasing crime is to work together to find solutions supported by data, create trust in the criminal justice system and not lay blame or “lie about evidence.”

“What I’ve seen is a need for a quick answer,” she said. “‘Oh, it’s the state’s attorney office. Oh, it’s the police.’ It’s not. And I get it.”

Lightfoot did not back down from her criticism, however. At a news conference hours after Foxx spoke, Lightfoot said she’s asked the U.S. attorney’s office to consider filing charges in the case and wants an explanation from Foxx for why her office hasn’t bought charges.

“I’d like her to explain because I can’t explain it,” Lightfoot said. “I’m getting calls from residents. I’m getting calls from other officials. We have to understand how it’s possible when this kind of shootout is captured on film that there were no charges on any person even though people were brought into custody and arrested.”

She said she expects to meet with Foxx soon and talk through the issues.

“Everybody’s got to be working together, but we can’t send a message that it’s OK and you get a pass that you shoot up a residence in broad daylight captured on film and no consequences will happen,” Lightfoot said. “That can’t be the world we live in.”

In response to a question about Chicago police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan’s comments that the video wasn’t clear, Lightfoot said, “The question I might have for him when I see him shortly, candidly, is (if this happened) in Beverly, Mount Greenwood (or) anywhere in the North Side, would there really be no clarity?”

Lightfoot said the city will work with Foxx’s office to bring more charges.

“Whatever the other evidence is that needs to be gathered, the Police Department is going to be Johnny on the spot and make sure we get it,” Lightfoot said. “But this is to me a very compelling case.”

Lightfoot has been under pressure to curb high violent crime, which she has generally attributed to the pandemic disrupting the criminal justice system, lax prosecutors and illegal guns while pointing out that crime is up across the country. Lightfoot and Brown have at times been critical of Foxx’s office, even though Lightfoot endorsed Foxx’s reelection campaign in 2020.

At her news conference, Foxx pushed back on the argument that her office doesn’t do enough to curb crime. Foxx said her office prosecutes the vast majority of shooting cases brought by Chicago police, but that most shootings don’t lead to arrests. Of more than 13,000 citywide shootings that have occurred since Foxx took office, fewer than 2,500 have resulted in an arrest, she said.

“This is us in the state’s attorney’s office wanting to work with our law enforcement partners because when we know we have that many unsolved shootings, there is a sense that people can get away with murder with impunity, and that makes our communities less safe,” Foxx said.

She also accused Brown of falsely blaming rising crime on bond reforms, a frequent theme the superintendent hits after violent weekends.

Foxx also noted that Chicago’s crime wave isn’t unique to the city.

“It’s not soundbite-able to say we have issues of divestment, we have issues of trauma, we have issues of mental health, we have issues of housing, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, that what we’re seeing in the rise in violence here in Chicago is happening in New York, is happening in LA, is happening in Louisville, Kentucky; Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Foxx said. “So, when I say to look at the context, I believe we should be data-informed. We should stop with the anecdotes and tell the truth.”